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Cook’s Corner for July 14-15, 2018

Lemony Chickpeas

2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans (15 oz. each) chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3 tbsp. lemon juice

1. Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until tender.
2. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, pepper flakes and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Uncover; simmer 4-5 minutes or until liquid is slightly reduced, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon peel and lemon juice. Serve over rice.

Strawberry-Lime Bars

Prep: 25 min. plus chilling
Bake: 10 min. plus cooling
Makes: 2 dozen

2 cups finely crushed pretzels (about 6 oz.)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (6 oz.) strawberry gelatin
1 lb. fresh strawberries, chopped
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. grated lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp.vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place crushed pretzels and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl; stir in melted butter. Spread into an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, add boiling water to gelatin; stir 2 minutes to completely dissolve. Gently stir in strawberries. Cool slightly. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, lime peel. lime juice, vanilla and remaining sugar until blended. Stir in cooled pretzel mixture. Spread into an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. top with strawberry mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours or until firm.

Banana-Split Brownies

Prep: 45 minutes
Bake: 40 minutes plus cooling
Makes: 2 Dozen

8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cubed
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup maraschino cherries, chopped

Topping:
1 pkg. ( 8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
Sliced bananas and additional chopped maraschino cherries, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth.
2. In a bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture, Gradually stir in flour. Fold in cherries. Spread into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
3. In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in mashed banana and preserves. Add egg; beat on low speed just until blended. Spread over brownie batter; sprinkle with peanuts.
4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until topping is set and a toothpick inserted in brownie portion comes out mostly clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Cut into bars. If desired, serve bars topped with sliced bananas and additional cherries. Store in refrigerator.

Ann Hudson lives on Cottonville Road. She loves cooking and sharing recipes with others. Have a question on one of her recipes? Call 704-474-3867.